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Ranking the Pac-12 Running Backs for 2021

Dynamic playmaker, Max Borghi, is back to lead the WSU offense in 2021.

Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

Article by WestCoastCFB

1. Max Borghi (WSU)

Max Borghi is a Christian McCaffrey clone with elite speed, agility and an uncanny ability to stretch a defense as a pass catcher and runner. Borghi fits what NFL teams look for now in a running back and he should climb up draft boards with another excellent season. The WSU star decided to return to the Cougs after injuries limited him to just one game in 2020 and will look to get back to the level he played at in 2019 when he totaled 1,414 yards from scrimmage and 16 touchdowns.

2. CJ Verdell (Oregon)

Verdell has the most proven track record of any returning Pac-12 running back after posting back to back 1000+ yard seasons in 2018 and 2019. Injuries limited his production in 2020 but Verdell will be back to full health for the start of 2021. The Oregon runner is physical and seeks out contact but can also turn on the burners and break huge runs.

3. Jarek Broussard (Colorado)

Broussard returns to the Buffs after winning Pac-12 Player of the Year in 2020 as a Sophomore. Broussard's breakout performance last season came in a dominant effort against Arizona when he ran for 301 yards on 24 carries.

4. Rachaad White (ASU)

Rachaad White was the most dynamic runner in the Pac-12 last season while averaging a ridiculous 10 yards per carry. White runs a reported 4.45 40 and used that speed to record the most plays of 50+ yards in the Pac-12 last season with 5 such plays. Expect White to put up huge stats in 2021 and don't be surprised if he finishes the season as the top runner in the conference.

5. Brittain Brown (UCLA)

Brittain Brown was overshadowed by the play of Demetric Felton in 2020 but was outstanding in his own right. The Duke transfer has 1,971 career yards and 16 touchdowns and should take the bulk of the carries for the Bruins this season.

6. Keaontay Ingram (USC)

Ingram transferred to the Trojans after three seasons with the Texas Longhorns where he totaled 2,326 yards and 17 touchdowns. The starting USC running back job is still an open competition but Ingram is much more of a home run threat than Vavae Malepeai and is just as physical with his 6-0 222lb stature.

7. Travis Dye (Oregon)

Travis Dye is similar to Max Borghi in how he can impact the game as both a runner and a receiver. While Verdell battled through injuries in 2020, the Ducks leaned on Dye and he delivered with 682 yards and 9.3 yards per touch. Expect Dye to get a lot of touches in 2021 and Joe Moorhead will continue to look to get the speedster the ball in space.

8. Austin Jones (Stanford)

Jones came to the Cardinal in 2019 as the 119th ranked recruit in the country and looks like the next great Stanford running back. CBS recently ranked Jones as the 39th overall prospect for the 2022 NFL Draft. In the shortened 2020 season, Jones broke out with 706 yards.

9. Deon McIntosh (WSU)

McIntosh came to the Cougs after playing for Notre Dame as a Freshman and will team up with Borghi to form one of the best 1-2 punches in the nation. For his career, McIntosh has 953 yards and 11 touchdowns while averaging 6.1 yards per touch. He broke out for WSU in the season opener against Oregon State last season with 147 yards on 18 carries.

10. Chip Trayanum (ASU)

Chip Trayanum came to the Sun Devils as a 4 star recruit from Ohio and instantly delivered big performances as a Freshman. The 230lb runner was PFF's highest graded running back in the Pac-12 last season which bodes well for his potential.

Honorable Mention:

Michael Wiley (Arizona)

Richard Newton (Washington)

Chris Brown (Cal)

Micah Bernard (Utah)

TJ Pledger (Utah)

Vavae Malepeai (USC)

BJ Baylor (OSU)

Nathaniel Peat (Stanford)


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